Today, content marketing is one of the most effective marketing approaches. It is essential to businesses because it is accessible because of the Internet. So, what is content marketing? What is the benefit? I will cover the basics and give you a basic understanding. Look out for a more in-depth blog post for topics around content marketing shortly.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the practice of creating high-quality content. Its purpose is to attract, acquire and engage your target audience. Content is designed to offer value and insight. It engages your target audience in all stages of their buying process.
Content marketing is customer-centric. The goal is simple, create content your target audience needs and wants. It enables your target audience to consume, engage and take action.
Businesses need to understand content marketing is not selling. It is a two-way conversation between you and your target audience. At its core, it provides valuable information in exchange for their loyalty.
Why is Content Marketing Important?
“70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles, like blogs, rather than ads” (SproutContent). The fact is content marketing enables you to be part of your target audience’s buying process. Creating content at each stage of their buying process is valuable.
It builds trust between you, the business, and the customer. Don’t believe me? Here are a few statistics:
- Buyers go through about 57% of the purchasing process before ever talking to sales (CEB)
- 41% of marketers confirm content marketing’s positive ROI (HubSpot)
- 72% of marketers think that branded content is more effective than magazine advertisements, 69% say it’s superior to direct mail and PR (Marketo)
Content Marketing and Your Sales Funnel
Content is the backbone of your sales funnel. The purpose is to remove barriers at each stage and identify a need for your target audience. The sales funnel is made up of three steps.
Top of The Funnel (TOFU)
Content at this stage is focused on attracting website visitors. It is to intrigue, and capture marketing qualified leads. Common types of TOFU content include blog posts, articles, infographics, to name a few.
Middle of The Funnel (MOFU)
At this stage, prospects are evaluating their options to solve their problem. An opportunity to capture sales-qualified leads. Provide content that explains the benefits of a specific solution. Content includes case studies, in-depth blog posts, or email marketing.
Bottom of The Funnel (BOFU)
The consumption of top and middle of the funnel content encourages prospects to take action. Content at this stage is to remove any doubt and showcase expertise. Content includes offers, free trials, and testimonials to remove unresolved barriers.
Plan a Content Marketing Strategy
A content marketing strategy is more effective at creating content. In almost most cases, it is easier to justify the marketing budget. Content goals are critical to outline how they will generate a positive return on investment.
A healthy thought-out plan will identify channels of distribution. For example, social networks are commonplace for engagement and sharing content. How do you differentiate from other brands?
To build a content marketing strategy, you need an objective or goal. Then a buyer persona to know precisely who to target. Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers.
A defined buyer persona will determine the type of content for what stage of the sales funnels. See How to Create Buyer Personas For Your Business and 109 Content Marketing Tools to Create Awesome Content.
Content Marketing is a Long-Term Strategy
Content marketing is by far one of the best engagement methods with customers. It is also the most time-consuming. The biggest issue in content marketing is the time and quality of content.
Treat your website visitors the respect it deserves. Give them something that you know they would benefit from. Make time to research, digest, and write with passion.
A genuine commitment to content marketing will see results in the long haul. Don’t be tempted to stray away from it because you don’t see immediate returns. As a foundation for a house, it is the foundation of your marketing efforts online.
Content Marketing Craves High-Quality Content
You have to ask yourself, “Whom am I writing this for?” High-quality content needs to be valuable and informative. Otherwise, why would anyone stay on your website? It is essential to create more helpful content than the following website.
A method of creating high-quality content is facts. Anyone engaged in a piece of content needs sources to back it up to be credible. Check out Moz to learn more about credibility. Do you see what I did there?
When a website visitor clicks through to your website, they want to consume your content. Don’t distract them with spelling and grammar mistakes. Avoid ads and pop-ups as it detracts their attention on what’s important.
The Future of Content Marketing
“With more than 85 percent adoption among B2B marketers, content marketing is certainly becoming more widely accepted among businesses across industries and verticals” (Marketing Land). It will, in time, be an essential part of any marketing plan.
Consumer behavior has changed. Content marketing is not optional but a necessity to any successful marketing campaign online. To break through the clutter, it starts with content marketing. What do you think? What is content marketing to your business?